Q: The Heat are missing defense, toughness and physicality in the frontcourt. How could they not have found a suitable replacement for P.J. Tucker? — Brian.
Q: Pat Riley needs to get on the phone with James Jones in Phoenix and get Jae Crowder back in Miami ASAP. Our lack of size is problematic. – Greg, Jacksonville.
A: Agree and agree (but not sure if the Heat have anything to entice the Suns when it comes to Jae Crowder). While the rebounding numbers look competitive, the Heat’s size deficit puts them at a deficit at the moments of truth. And the same can be said when it comes to defensive deterrence. And the thing is, Friday is a game where you could make an argument for going smaller, with the Celtics playing Jayson Tatum at power forward. But as foul trouble, such as Friday’s, shows, you need to not only have a Plan B, but maybe a Plan C, as well. For the Heat, that was Haywood Highsmith. The Heat’s shortcoming to this stage have plenty to do with their short . . . coming.
Q: I feel like Tyler Herro forced his way into the starting lineup and the Heat succumbed to his demands. By removing Max Strus, we lose shooting and spacing. Tyler Herro was the Sixth Man of the Year and worked perfectly against second units. His new contract shouldn’t matter, it’s not what’s best for the team. He still got his minutes and we won with Max Strus starting and Herro coming off the bench. – Brian.
A: Or you could simply start Jimmy Butler at power forward, and then feature both Tyler Herro and Max Strus in the starting lineup. But that also is a matter of appeasing a player, since Jimmy made clear he does not want to be the Heat’s starting power forward. So there always are going to be personality and contractual elements in play, factors beyond what makes the best strategic sense. But, yes, Tyler with the second unit certainly provided benefits the current mix is missing.
Q: I’ve got a crazy trade proposal for you Ira. Russell Westbrook and the two Lakers’ first-round picks for Kyle Lowry and Duncan Robinson. The Lakers are desperate for 3-point shooting, so let’s offer them one of the NBA’s best. Both Lowry and Robinson have bad contracts we can escape. And those Lakers picks will be high. – David.
A: And I’ve got a crazier response. If the Lakers were to bite, I think you would have to consider it.